BROOKLYN, NY 3/14/2019 – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks took the floor as the 10th seed facing the #7 Duquesne Dukes. They left the floor upending the higher seed 92 – 86 in the second round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament at the Barclays Center. The Hawks move on to the quarterfinal round.
“It sounds crazy, give up 86 points, but our defense was really good,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli. “Guys that you don’t expect to be defenders gave us everything they had. There was a little panic early with everyone making suggestions, but that was because they wanted to play of Friday. That’s all they talked about, play Friday.”
It was a team effort that propelled SJU to the win on offense and on defense. The team needed the offensive output, the defense sealed it.
Charlie Brown led all scorers with 28 points hitting 10 of his 14 field goal attempts.
“We got to take the shots we wanted, so go with confidence and knock them down,” said Brown.
Jared Bynum scored 16 points as he converted 9 pf 10 from the free throw line.
“My teammates have been on me all year long about making free throws,” said Bynum. “Gotta make your foul shots, gotta make foul shots, so I wanted to go up there with confidence, just you and the basket. I wanted to help us by hitting free throws.”
Chris Clover added 15 points. There were other aspects of the game that helped the Hawks cause. They turned the ball over 6 times which tied their season-low. Lamarr Kimble handed out a game-best 6 assists along with 2 steals. All of the players who saw the floor contributed, some invisible to the boxscore.
There was lots of offense. Saint Joe’s scored 92 points which matched their season highest point total. The 49 points scored in the first half by the Hawks tied their best point production in the opening 20 minutes of a game. The most points SJU got in a half was 57 vs. UIC in the second stanza.
For the game Saint Joseph’s 29 of 61 from the floor and 11 of 29 from beyond the arc. In the first half they connected on over half of their attempts.
The second half the teams played even until the Hawks broke out to a 69 – 61 lead midway through the half behind a 10 – 2 run over a 3 minute stretch. It did not last as the Dukes pulled to within a point twice with the last coming a 75 – 74 with just under 6 minutes to play.
Saint Joe’s responded. A three-point play by Taylor Funk stretched the advantage to 82 – 74. The Hawks closed out the game making 10 of 12 from the free throw line.
“We broke some balls loose, and we had some guys step up,” said Martelli. “Clover made a jumper, Fresh (Kimble) made a jumper, then there was a big play when we broke a ball loose and Charlie got a run out. We broke another ball loose and Funk got an ‘and one.’ It was our defense.”
Duquesne was led by Eric Williams, Jr. who had 23 points. Lamar Norman, Jr. got 18 points and Marcus Weathers pulled down 10 rebounds to go along with 17 points. The Dukes finish the year at 19 – 13 and will await post-season possibilities.
Saint Joseph’s (14 – 18) gets another game. Which is what they wanted.
“This is March and you have to play every play like it’s your last breath,” Martelli said.
Written By: Glenn Papazian